Yeah, I’m saying it: folks aren’t selfish enough with their brands. That’s especially true when they’re creating branding for a small business.
Businesses, by nature, have their eyes on the bottom line: quarterly revenue, conversions, ROI, blah blah blah… You’ve probably heard all the buzzwords, acronyms and then some. A certain amount of that is absolutely necessary in the long-term! If a business doesn’t make money, then, well, how long can it last?
Here’s the thing: there are a lot of ways to make money. You don’t have to own a business in order to make a living. Clearly, your decision to be a part of your business endeavor is about more than just the bottom line.
Those reasons why you do your work are precisely what will help make your brand stand out, for several reasons:
Authenticity–the kind that means something.
It’s turned into a real buzz word in branding and marketing, but focusing on your reasons why is where true authenticity comes from! Focusing on what motivates you, the satisfaction you feel when you do your job well, your love of the process? That makes you relatable. That makes your audience want to trust in you.
And, if you don’t? You risk sounding exactly like everyone else. Their processes, their beliefs, their values aren’t yours, and when you speak to values that don’t mean something to you, it shows. It pays to get comfy with your feelings, your goals, and who you want your business to be, because that’s who your audience will remember.
Aspiration: it’s not just for client personas.
So, here’s a wild notion for you: when you run your own business, you don’t actually have to do anything you don’t want to do! Sure, there are un-fun things like bookkeeping or paying taxes, but when it comes to the work itself, you make the rules.
You may not have started out making all the rules, however–a lot of new businesses make some compromises as they get started–but now that you’re on firm footing, you want to elevate your business to a level where you really are making the rules, right?
When your brand speaks to the goals that motivate you to do your work every day, you’re more likely to achieve those goals. Start getting pie-in-the-sky when you think about your brand. You deserve to grow your staff, make a splash in a new market, or simply make more money while working fewer hours.
Audience, as in The Right One.
Knowing what you want to do, and how you want to do it, and what your boundaries are will help you narrow down the people you choose to work with. When a customer is there and willing to pay, it’s tempting to say Yes to it, sometimes even when we shouldn’t.
Are customers who aren’t ready to accept your terms really worth the energy, though? Think about the customers whom you’ve agreed to work with, even when doing so went against your gut instinct:
- Did they ask for more than you wanted or agreed to give them?
- Were they unsatisfied with what you did give them?
- Did they drain away your time and energy, and the fulfillment you normally get from a job well done?
If a customer isn’t willing to work with you on your terms, then they’re not an ideal client. And, that means there’s no reason to market directly to them! Focus your marketing on the people you actively want to work with, and you’ll be happier with the clients you get.
We all want to do our work on our own terms–especially if we’ve started our own business! Whether that’s about the money we make, how many hours we work, or the processes and methods we use to do it, we chose this path because we want to do what we believe in, and do it our way. So, get a little selfish with your brand: it’ll do more for you if it’s built upon your own goals.